Avoiding Potential Translation Disasters

Why pay more for a reputable LSP company like Lionbridge?

Not going through a professional, reliable company might cost you more in the long run.

We’ve told you before about the downfalls of machine translators and how little mistakes could make a big impact on your audience, but how much would a mistake really cost? Is paying a little more now really worth it?  Here are some examples of what could happen if you don’t.

In 1980, a hospital in Florida didn’t have a professional translator on staff, so they decided to use a bilingual staff member to translate a Spanish speaking family’s emergency.  The word “intoxicado” (a false friend) was translated to “intoxicated” instead of “poisoned,” an understandable mistake.  The doctors treated the patient for a drug overdose, instead of the food poisoning the family suspected.  That one word led to treatment that left the patient a quadriplegic. The patient also received $71 million dollars in settlement money.  He probably hired a professional translator for the trial.

Governmental agencies need the best of the best when it comes to translators, or else they could end up unintentionally threatening another country, like the Russians did, escalating the Cold War by translating “we will outlast you” (not nice, but more of a conviction than a threat) into “we will bury you,” which the Americans understandably took as a threat.

The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 New Zealand caused problems when the English document relinquished the country and sovereignty to the British, but the New Zealand document stated the Maori would continue to rule themselves, but help them with a legal system.  The discrepancy is still being worked out almost two centuries later, and we can only imagine how much money and time has been spent trying to clean it up.

This past spring we told you about Taco Bell's mishap with machine translations and localization.  They are paying the price for their blunder much like HSBC bank did in 2009 after a catchphrase was translated incorrectly.  The rebranding campaign cost them $10 million dollars.

Huge corporations like Pepsi, KFC, and Clairol have had their wonderful marketing campaigns turned into translation disasters across the globe.  Instead of spending millions of dollars to fix it, or even more in a law suit, come over to Lionbridge OnDemand and get our flat-rate translation services from professionally-trained, native language translators.  A little money now goes a long way towards preventing potential disasters in the future.